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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Smarty Mom: Kari Allison

By Guest Blogger Rachel H

Happy Smarty Saturday! I am thrilled to introduce to you Kari Allison as our Smarty Mom this week. I met Kari at her house last year when I attended her Children’s Boutique Clothing Re-sale Show. I was so impressed by her sale and all the organization that went into it. Not to mention the fact that I bought some really cute clothes! Kari and I have since discovered we have children at the same school, and many mutual friends. After living in Wilmington, Kari and her husband Cory have lived in the Triad since 1997. They have two daughters, Emma who is 9 and Camille, who is 6. Kari works part-time at her daughter’s former preschool, and she always seems to be organizing something. I am excited to share some of her Smarty wisdom with you all!

Tell us a little about the Art Camp you have organized.
I was not the sole organizer of the art camp. Myself and three other moms wanted to create some whimsical art. We tried to get together once a week to do this alone in preparation for selling at the Whimisical Women art show, but we always had to arrange for child care, and our kids wanted to do all of the projects anyway! So we picked a week in the summer that we were all available and made it an official art camp. Each mom was responsible for a day. This included an art project and snack for all nine of the kids. One day we made earrings and necklaces (for the boys) from recycled bottle caps ,and had a local artist come and show the kids how to make art out of airplane scrap metal. He brought some metal and the kids worked together to make it into a fish! We had homemade lemon ice cream that the kids helped prepare. At the end of that day, they had learned to turn trash into treasure, met a real artist and had a cooking lesson. It was a great experience. The kids all said it was their favorite camp ever. It was definitely my most memorable.

Please share with us how you started your Boutique Re-Sale, and are you looking for consignors at this time?
I am always looking for new consigners! My next sale will be last week of February or the first weekend in March depending on location. My sale was born out of need. I used to be a client at a great consignment shop in High Point. She sold her store and I was lost. There was no store in Winston-Salem strictly for children's consignment and I had a lot of clothes! I tried the local preschool clothing sales and noticed that some of my clothing sold well and some did not. The boutique style clothing did not move at the prices I had tagged. So I moved to E-bay. I tried selling my clothing and a friends clothing on E-bay, but we had a lot of clothing! Are you noticing a trend here? I jokingly said to my friend, between the two of us, we could have our own store. And so it was born. I invited a couple of other friends whom I knew to have an affinity for the same type items to bring their clothing for me to sell as well. This spring will be my 4th sale. I am planning on moving the upcoming sale to a larger location and would like to eventually have my own storefront. I believe strongly in making the most of what you have. Re-selling fine clothing is the best of both worlds for me. I can dress my children the way I love and know that when they have outgrown their beloved Hannas, someone else will get to enjoy it.

Our children live in such a disposable society, I hope that by holding this sale I am teaching my daughters the beauty of passing on, not discarding and the art of budgeting and living within your means. I hope that I am empowering other moms to do the same and making their homes a little less cluttered each season!

What is your best Smarty Tip for moms who are juggling many activities like yourself?
Coffee. Lots and lots of it! Seriously, a better tip would be to plan ahead. Think ahead, months ahead, for upcoming events so that they don't sneak up on you and you can enjoy your time more fully. I own a rental property and I have learned the hard way to plan ahead for advertising and renting of the property so that I am not even more stressed about finding the perfect tenant. My favorite tip is a notebook. I carry a small notepad with me everywhere. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a bad memory. This has been a lifesaver for me. I make lists in the notebook. I also write decorating ideas in it, fun websites to visit, I jot addresses, etc. Each day, I look at it, and start a new page. I eliminate what I have taken care of, and write again what I still need to accomplish. After writing “make your dentist appt” a few days in a row, I get tired of seeing it in the notebook and actually get it done! You can find cute, purse size notebooks in Michael's dollar section.

You have shared with me some great things about the High Point Museum. Please tell our readers more about it!
I grew up in High Point. My favorite field trip memory was one to the HPM in which I was allowed to make my own “waffle” in the fireplace inside of the house. I thought that was incredible. I am a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder and pioneer life. As an adult, I had to take my girls there! They have attended a period tea party complete with a manners class. They have visited all of the historic out buildings on different occasions. They have learned how to dye Easter eggs naturally, make tin lanterns and jewelry. Very fun and educational.

Ok, now on to some less serious question. What is your favorite family activity?
Friday night “make-your-own-pizza and movie night”. We make personal pizzas, and while they are baking, we must ,must, must play I-spy while we wait the tortuously long 11 minutes for them to cook!

What is your favorite mommy time activity?
Having a cup of Starbucks and perusing decorating books and magazines in a quiet corner of Barnes and Noble.

What is the funniest thing your daughters have ever said to you?
Well, the girls really like to give dinner theater performances, and I do not remember the last time I laughed as hard as when they were reenacting the landing of the pilgrims, and the first Thanksgiving. They had a complete set, with an impressive ship (couch) with a porthole, anchor and waves. They kept putting the anchor up and down between each “scene”. The Native Americans saved the pilgrims from starvation and they danced together quite often in celebration. The lines were all led with the phrase “let us....” pronounced with a British/Australian combination accent. It was so priceless. Thank goodness for video cameras!

Favorite date place in the Triad?
Xia Asian Fusion restaurant. Fantastic food (love the edamame), a cozy, soothing atmosphere, great price!

Favorite place to eat out with the family?
Moe's on Kids night. You can't beat the price and we're guaranteed the opportunity to eat with friends once a week! You never know who will be there!

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
My clothing sale, of course! Actually, I love the Chez Ami outlet sales. My girls love their styles and they wash and wear almost as well as Hanna Andersson.

What’s the Smartiest way you save money?
The Grocery Game! I am hooked. Go to for details. In a nutshell, it is a weekly guide to using coupons to your best benefit. I never used coupons before this program was introduced to me by a savvy co-worker. I can buy 100.00 worth of groceries for 40.00-50.00!

Favorite park?
Hathaway Park in Winston-Salem. It's within walking distance from my home, the equipment is age appropriate for my girls and it has the great water mister they love so much! As a family, we enjoy walking their and playing tennis on the well-worn courts.

Favorite birthday party venue?
My home! I love throwing huge birthday bashes. I knew it was an addiction when my family deemed Emma's 5th birthday “Emmapalooza”!

Mini-van or SUV?
Mini-van convert after owning a luxurious but high-maintenance SUV.

I could not live without…
My husband. He is the best cheerleader ever. He always supports my half-baked dreams!

What do you like best about raising a family in the Triad?
Everything is so convenient! Wilmington was a small town, and it seemed as if we knew everyone. When we moved here, we didn't think that would be possible. In the past few years, I have noticed that W-S is getting smaller and smaller! I love it. I have met so many wonderful moms and I love that I can see at least one on every errand I run!

Thanks, Kari for all your Smarty answers! If you have any questions for Kari about her Children’s Boutique Clothing Re-sale Show, then email TriadSmartyPants and we'll forward your email to her.

Do you know a mom who goes above and beyond the call of duty for others, someone who does incredible work for her family and a charitable organization, runs a company and a marathon, or is just simply living the daily grit of motherhood? Then email me here your “Smarty Momination!"


Anonymous said...

Love the Art Camp idea! What a wonderful way to include the children when you are doing something fun with friends. Thanks so much for sharing.

Rachel said...

Thanks for all the tips, Kari! I was very excited about the High Point Museum. I got on the website and saw that admission is free! Sounds like a win-win to me.

Anonymous said...

Where will your sale be held this year? I would love to come by.

Kari Foster Allison said...

I am currently securing a location since I have outgrown the last space. Please e-mail me and I will be happy to add you to my distribution list. I will send updates asap!

Thanks so much for your interest. I look forward to meeting you!

Jenny said...

You are such a "smarty" Kari and a great friend too! I know you are a great mom because your girls are so sweet and kind. The clothing show is the BEST everybody! I have sold and bought a lot in the past. Can't wait!

Elizabeth said...

I went to your sale this weekend and thought the clothes were so cute! Will you have another one in the fall?

Kari said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I am glad you enjoyed the sale! I will have another sale in the fall! Check the website for details. I will be making updates to the website soon.

Thanks so much for your support!

Kari Foster Allison

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